House Democrats formally protest magistrates recusal law

“It’s very simple, they are allowed to refuse to do something illegal, but they are not allowed to refuse to serve the public,” said Hamilton.

Supporters of the measure point out that the law only allows magistrates to recuse themselves from all marriages, not just same-sex ones. Bill sponsors say the law was intended to give the state, as an employer, the ability to make reasonable accommodations for employees’ religious convictions, in accordance with federal civil rights laws.

The legislation stemmed from a lawsuit filed by two Moore County magistrates who argued that being required to perform same-sex marriages violated their religious beliefs.